Monday, May 29, 2017

The Great War: May 26, 1917

A hundred years ago, Memorial Day was observed on May 30, which was a Tuesday. On the Friday before Memorial Day, there was a show at the Playhouse here in Hudson to benefit the Red Cross. An article that appeared in the Hudson Evening Register the next day, on Saturday, May 26, 1917, reports that the show was a event was a huge success. 

Various entertainments in the last five years have attracted great crowds to the Playhouse here, but the audience that witnessed the Red Cross benefit last night in that theatre was a record-breaker. Fifteen minutes before the performance started every seat in the orchestra row, and first balcony was taken, and nearly all the available space in the gallery occupied. By 8 o'clock hundreds of persons were standing up, and scores unable to obtain standing room. Every box was taxed to its capacity.
The afternoon performance was largely attended, too. Practically every seat in the orchestra room was occupied, and there was a goodly number of persons in the balcony. Considering the large number of persons unable to see the show last night and being mindful of the splendid merits of the entertainment, we have no doubt but that the theatre could be packed to its capacity again to-night. Many requests for a repetition of the show have already been received.
A remarkable success was the benefit, not only financially, but as an entertainment. The vaudeville bill possessed much variety, and each act was high class. It would be difficult to say which number was the best. One individual may prefer comedy, another may care more for "deep stuff," while a third may favor music and singing. The entertainment possessed all these elements, and a significant thing was the fact that the whole performance appealed favorable to the whole audience.
Sprinkled through the entertainment was a sparkling vein of patriotism. We saw it in the first act, we found it very conspicuous in the artistic decorating scheme and again we found it being featured in a grand finale, in which Mrs. [Louis J.] Cornu, of New York city, who possesses a pleasing voice of remarkable range, sang a patriotic number, during which Mrs. Jeanette Harris and Miss Margaret Swift, bearing Old Glory and the Red Cross banner, appeared in a inspirational tableau.
Appeal for Bond Buying
During each performance a plea for the Liberty Loan bond was made by Edward F. Swenson, of the Liberty Loan committee of New York. Charles A. Van Deusen, president of the Hudson City Savings Institution, introduced the speaker in an exceedingly clever manner. Mr. Swenson proved to be an eloquent speaker: he was convincing and drove home his points clearly and with great effect. Briefly he referred to the great part the Red Cross was taking in the war and then he launched upon the necessity of financing the struggle. A Liberty loan bond in each home is the desire of Uncle Sam, and those who subscribe to that loan are performing a great patriotic service, the same as were those who were assisting in making the Red Cross benefit a success. He did not dwell on the patriotic side of the proposition alone. It was a great investment, and a wonderful propaganda for thrift. He explained how the banks in Hudson were helping to finance the loan by arranging an excellent installment plan. . . .
The Playhouse, which seated 1,500, stood at 347 Warren Street. It was relatively new in 1917, having been built just five years earlier in 1912. The photograph below was taken in 1922. The date of the post card image is unknown. The Playhouse was destroyed by fire in February 1938.


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